by James Rada, Jr.
Commissioners May Adjust Colorfest Fees
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the costs and revenues the town incurred during the 2021 Colorfest. The town had $25,707 deficit, which was the greatest loss since 2014. The town works to balance the income it receives from permits and fines against the costs of signs, security, labor, sanitation, and transportation. Since these numbers can’t be projected accurately, these numbers can vary greatly, but the amount of the deficit seems to have surprised the commissioners. A large contributor to the revenues was that there was a significant decrease in vendors. Surprisingly, various speakers told the commissioners that COVID seemed to have little direct impact on the numbers. Other health issues among vendors, vendors going out of business, and making other plans for that weekend were mentioned.
Commissioner Bill Blakeslee suggested increasing the fee that the town receives from each parked car from $2.00 to $4.00 and raising the parking cost from $10.00 to $15.00 a vehicle. This would allow the town to receive, perhaps, another $18,000 while not costing the vendors more of their profit.
They also will adjust some of the costs to see what money can be saved there. They plan to re-examine the issue later this month.
Stormwater Ordinance Introduced
The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners introduced a stormwater management ordinance required by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Much of the discussion around the proposed ordinance centered around what sorts of discharges were illegal and what enforcement authority the town had, such as entering and examining private property.
Town Receives a Clean Audit & Gateway to the Cure Donation
Mike Samson with Zlenkofske Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. He gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit nor had any disagreements with the management.
Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 8th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts. This year’s events pushed the amount of Thurmont’s donations to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund to over $100,000. The 2021 donation was $18,000. The money will stay within Frederick County and go toward direct patient care.
“I brag about you everywhere. I tell everyone what a great town you are and how supportive you have been to our efforts, and we just appreciate it very much,” Hurwitz said.
Town Will Conduct a Connection Fee and Rate Study
The USDA told the Town of Emmitsburg that its current rates for water and sewer don’t appear to be enough to sustain the projected growth and maintenance on the system. Most municipalities will update their rates every three to five years. Yet, it has been at least 15 years since Emmitsburg conducted a rate study. The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid of $35,000 to have NewGen Strategies & Solutions in Annapolis conduct a study of the town’s water rates, sewer rates, and connection fees. Although not the lowest bid, NewGen had excellent references and extensive local experience.
Town Receives a Clean Audit
Michelle Mills, CPA with Deleon and Stang presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2021. She gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or had any disagreements with the management.
Board of Appeals Appointments
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Ronald Lind from the Board of Appeals, effective October 12, 2021. They also appointed Levi Esses as a regular member to the Board of Appeals for a term to run from December 7, 2021, to February 17, 2023, and appointed Scott Frager an alternate to the Board of Appeals for a term to run December 7, 2021, to January 11, 2024.
Town Sets Price for 303 West Lincoln Avenue
Having declared that 303 West Lincoln Avenue has no public use, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners had the property appraised. The recommended listing price for the property is $625,000. The town is expected to negotiate first with the current building occupants, Christ Community Church, to sell the property. If an agreement can’t be reached or the church is not interested in continuing to use the property, it will be placed on the market.